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Film / Force 10 from Navarone

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Force 10 from Navarone is a 1978 film directed by Guy Hamilton and starring Robert Shaw, Harrison Ford, Edward Fox, Barbara Bach, Franco Nero and Carl Weathers, based on a 1968 novel by Alistair MacLean. The events depicted take place during World War II but are entirely fictional. A small contingent of American soldiers, plus two of the British soldiers from The Guns of Navarone, are sent to Yugoslavia to carry out two separate missions. The Brits aim to eliminate a known traitor masquerading as a Yugoslav Partisan, while the Americans were sent to destroy a bridge.

Notable as MacLean's only sequel work, written as a follow-up to the film adaptation of The Guns of Navarone rather than to the original novel.


Trope 10 from Navarone:

  • Accidental Murder: It's pretty obvious Bauer didn't mean to kill Reynolds. It doesn't stop Barnsby from blowing him away in revenge, though.
  • Action Girl: Maritza
  • Adaptation Name Change: Many, most of which don't really seem to do much except cause confusion: Maria is now Maritza, General Vukalovic is demoted to being Major Petrovich, Captain Droshy is Captain Drazak, and Captain Neufeld gets a promotion to Major Schroeder.
  • Adapted Out: A few:
    • Brown in the novel. Since he dies in the film version of The Guns of Navarone, and MacLean wrote Force 10 to more closely follow the film, Brown is MIA.
    • Andrea Stavros. In the book, he accompanies Mallory and Miller to Yugoslavia and even kills Captain Droshny (the Drazak equivalent). He's absent from the movie and is never mentioned.
    • General Zimmerman is never seen or mentioned in the movie.
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    • Petar, who is replaced as the leader of the Partisans by Petrovich. Note that this isn't a simple character name change, as Petar is a young, blind boy and Petrovich is the movie's version of General Vukalovic.
    • Saunders and Groves, to a lesser extent.
  • Airstrike Impossible: It is unlikely that the Partisans had the airplanes necessary to carry bombs to destroy the bridge. Enter Force Ten.
  • Anachronism Stew: Freight train is pulled by very anachronistic electric locomotive in Yugoslav Railway livery.
  • Artistic License – Military: German uniforms.
    • Soldiers have colored shield decal on their helmets. Said decals were abolished in the 1940.
    • Soldiers' tunics have subdued patches, that would be period correct, but with dark green collars, that were abolished in 1940 and feldgrau shoulder straps, that were introduced after feldgrau collars. Also, shoulder straps lacks piping in corps colour.
    • Strangely, protagonists steals uniform with dark green shoulder straps with red piping of artillery corps.
    • Major Schroeder have collar patches of a soldier.
  • Asleep for Days: In the novel, which starts moments after 'Guns' ended, Miller tells the crew of the destroyer that picked up the Navarone team not to wake them until they reach Cairo. When informed that the fleet wouldn't reach Cairo for two days, Miller simply replies "I know."
  • Awesome Suitcase: Staff Sergeant John Miller's suitcase chock-full of explosives. He seems to have a nearly infinite supply of them in his bag of tricks to confound and confuse the Germans while Barnsby and Mallory set the charges to blow the dam upstream of the bridge.
  • Badass Crew
  • Big Dam Plot: In both the book and film, the mission is a cover to destroy an important dam (Or more accurately, a strategically important bridge, but after getting a look at it, Miller determines that the only way to take out the bridge is to blow the dam so that the resulting flood can destroy the bridge).
  • The Big Guy: Drazak, literally, as he's played by Richard Kiel.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In the film, characters often speak untranslated German and Serbo-Croatian.
  • Black Market: When captured by the Germans, the Force Ten team claim to be black marketers, and that Miller's suitcase contained stolen penicillin that Weaver had diverted from Army stores for their own use. Unfortunately the German officer hasn't heard of penicillin, so he takes some convincing.
  • Blind Musician: Petar.
  • Briar Patching: When a German officer demands to look inside Miller's suitcase, Mallory tells Miller to go ahead and open it. It will ruin their supply of penicillin worth a black market fortune, but he's surely not interested in all that...
  • Canon Foreigner: Colonel von Ingorslebon/Lescovar. There's no German Intelligence agent posing as a Partisan fighter in the book. Ditto Mike Barnsby and almost all of his men except for Doug Reynolds (who is a Royal Marine Commando in the book).
  • Les Collaborateurs: The Chetniks. Echoes Real Life as they tended to willingly work with German and Italian occupation forces in Yugoslavia.
  • Death by Adaptation: Martiza and Schroeder, whose counterparts Maria and Captain Neufeld survive in the novel.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: The main characters are all either spies or guerilla fighters operating in occupied territory, so you betcha:
    • Barnsby and Mallory kill two Chetnik soldiers who were tracking them, but are later informed that they were actually Partisan spies who had infiltrated the Chetnik camp. Whoops. Turns out they did a Kill and Replace on the two men, who kept their faces masked due to flamethrower burns.
    • Force Ten uses the same tactic with dressing two Partisan soldiers as Chetniks when they raid their base later on to retrieve several prisoners.
    • And again when they infiltrate a German base to steal the explosives they need to blow up the dam, they pose as Wehrmacht soldiers.
  • During the War
  • "Eureka!" Moment: After Miller surveys the bridge and announces that there's absolutely no way he can destroy it with the supplies he has at hand, Mallory asks Miller what would happen if the bridge was hit by several million tons of water from, say, blowing the dam a few miles upstream. Miller excitedly begins talking about all the many different ways he can bust a dam and why that would be so much easier. This causes the team to change their plan from destroying the bridge to destroying the dam so that the unleashed river can destroy the bridge.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Nearly gets the entire team killed when attempting to leave the German base. They didn't frisk the Gestapo agent when chaining him and the two SS officers up, and he pulls a Walther P38. This forces them to shoot him, and the gunfire alerts the rest of the Germans in the base, forcing them to have to fight their way out instead of just sneaking out.
    • In the same scene, for some reason the team didn't tie Bauer up and left another P38 within his reach. To the surprise of no one, he grabs it and ends up killing Reynolds.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Miller and Mallory could barely tolerate each other in the previous movie, but act like close friends in this one.
  • Filling the Silence: The 118 minute version contains several lines of dialog that are silent in the 126 minute version.
  • Flipping the Bird: When Force Ten infiltrate a German base to steal explosives by posing as Wehrmacht soldiers, one of them is accosted by a German soldier. Since he doesn't actually speak German, he compromises by giving him the finger instead.
  • Friend or Foe: Schroeder accidentally gets shot by one of his own men while held prisoner.
  • Giant Wall of Watery Doom: Kills Zimmerman and takes out a bridge in the novel, whereas in the film all of the Germans manage to make it off of the bridge before it hits.
  • Here We Go Again!: Having complained loudly about being sent straight from Navarone to Yugoslavia, our heroes are finally looking forward to some leave, when their commander says that another little job has just come up...
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Marko sacrifices himself to kill Sergeant Bismarck and his men so the gang can escape on the train.
  • Here We Go Again!: In the novel after our heroes Got Volunteered for the mission on Navarone, then this one, they look forward to finally getting some leave. Their commander then says that as it happens, there is one more urgent mission that has just come up...
  • Idiot Ball: The characters have it during the scene where they rescue Weaver, Miller and Reynolds from the SS. They don't properly frisk the Nazis, allowing the Gestapo agent to pull a gun from inside his coat, and in addition to ignoring Bauer because they think he's a Harmless Villain, they inadvertently lay temptation in his path by leaving a gun within his reach. The fallout from this blunder leads to Reynolds' death and the gang having to violently shoot their way out, instead of simply walking out as they apparently originally planned.
  • In the Back: Saunders is killed by Droshny this way in the novel.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Upon realizing that they had failed to plant the charges needed to destroy the dam - and with it the bridge - before the Nazis began their dawn offensive, Barnsby and Mallory set the timer on the bomb for twenty seconds, shake hands, and casually stroll away. Fortunately for them, the blast wasn't as big as they expected - Miller wasn't able to make a dam-destroying bomb with the materials he had, so he instead built a bomb that would weaken its structure enough that the millions of tons of water it was holding back could finish the job.
  • Kids Are Cruel: There's a young boy in the Chetnik camp who always laughs at captured enemy soldiers being taken away to be tortured by the Germans.
  • Knife Fight: In the climax Weaver gets into a knife fight with the Chetnik leader, who even mocks "blackie" for bleeding red. Weaver ultimately wins but is gravely injured.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Captain Neufeld in the book. After the Giant Wall of Watery Doom takes out Zimmerman and his entire armored column, he orders the few surviving German troops to retreat.
  • Large Ham: Petrovich.
  • The Load: Barnsby regards the British officers as this initially, but comes to accept their assistance when he lacks the men and equipment to carry out his mission.
    • The Force 10 team expects Weaver to be this. Since he's black and they're about to parachute into Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia, they kinda have a point.
  • Lured into a Trap: The Chetniks under Drazak pretend to be Partisans at first. Cue the Oh, Crap! moment when the team sees the "Partisans" prove they are anything but, complete with stock taunts and laughter.
  • The Mole: Maritza and the two bandaged men for the Partisans, in the Chetnik camp. Also, the movie's premise is that the two British soldiers are to execute "Nicolai", the mole in the Partisans. It turns out he's really an undercover German officer named von Ingorslebon, posing as the trusty Captain Lescovar.
  • Noodle Incident: It's not explained why Sergeant Weaver is under arrest when Force Ten comes across him.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Very much subverted. The plane to Yugoslavia gets attacked. Approximately half the "Force Ten" contingent die in the airplane as a result.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Sergeant Bauer. While he isn't exactly dangerous, in stressful situations he quickly proves to be a huge liability due to not thinking straight. Because of is unassuming and bookish nature, when the heroes tie up Schroeder and the others, they seem to overlook Bauer. Cue him grabbing a gun and accidentally killing Reynolds after a failed attempt to make the good guys stand down.
  • Now What?: The Force Ten team succeeds in their mission, but they're stuck in the middle of Yugoslavia with no easy way home, their allies are all stuck on the other side of a river that won't be crossable for quite some time, the Nazis are all stuck on their side of the river, and Miller has finally run out of the various nifty explosive toys he had put in that briefcase.
  • Opening Monologue
  • Playing Possum: When they notice that they're being followed by two Chetnik soldiers, Mallory shoots his gun in the air and plays dead so they will get close enough that Barnsby can shoot them.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Aside from the Nazis themselves (though they seem to be more regular German forces), the boisterous Chetnik leader touches Weaver's face to see if his black skin leaves stains. Since he's pretending to be a Partisan at the time, this is a hint that he's actually a Nazi collaborator.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles
    • Yugoslav characters speaking to each other in Serbo-Croatian without translation.
      • When Captain Lescovar (AKA Nicolai) argues with one of his subordinates about whether to kill Mallory and Barnsby.
      • When a young Chetnik boy tells Captain Drazak about the fake Chetniks with bandages covering their faces.
      • The Partisan named Marco, while talking on the phone with Partisan headquarters.
    • German soldiers talking to each other in German without any translation for the audience.
      • When the German soldiers are starting their search for the Force Ten soldiers who parachuted from the bomber.
      • When the German soldiers are marching the Force Ten soldiers to their Firing Squad execution.
      • In the German supply depot, a German sergeant gives orders to other German soldiers.
      • At the bridge, German soldiers talk to each other before and during the attack at the climax of the film.
    • The German guards and workers on the dam talk to each other in untranslated German in several scenes.
    • During the airdrop, The Mole Nicolai talks to the approaching Nazi bomber pilot in untranslated German.
    • While Miller and Mallory are at the supply depot.
      • Both Lescovar and a German soldier speak to them in German which is not translated.
      • A German guard speaks to Colonel Barnsby and other German soldiers in German without translation.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The plan to steal explosives from the German supply depot. Miller dons an enemy uniform, walks into the appropriate warehouse, loads two boxes of explosives and some detonators on a hand cart, and walks out. Nobody asks who he is, why he's in the warehouse, or what he's planning to do with all those explosives.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • Since the last three missions into Yugoslavia had been compromised before they even got into the country, Force Ten started their mission by stealing a plane from an Allied airfield, thus ensuring that nobody outside of high command knew that there was a mission. A passing MP car nearly ruined the mission before they got off the ground.
    • And a fighter patrol who spotted their plane entering Yugoslavian airspace shot the plane down and killed half the team before they could do anything, seriously complicating their later efforts.
    • In the novel, Mallory locks up some of the antagonists but leaves the key so they can escape. When he wants them out of the way, he fails to leave the key the next time he does this. Turns out he Did Not Think This Through and anticipate that they might have their own key.
  • Tanks, but No Tanks: In the film, the German tanks are portrayed by Soviet T-34s. While Germany did capture and use them, the film shows the 85mm gunned version, which was not in service when the film took place. (Very few of the 76mm gunned T-34's survived the war.) Likewise the Panzer crews are wearing Soviet style tanker helmets.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Averted (mostly) with Schroeder who seems like an honorable (if insufferably smug) Wehrmacht officer. Played straight with Nazi spy von Ingorslebon as well as the SS and Gestapo who show up to interrogate the prisoners.
    • Mostly averted in the novel, where Captain Neufeld and his superior General Zimmerman are depicted as being weary of the war and eager for it to end.
  • Toplessness from the Back: Some fanservice, as we see Maritza in a bathtub. There's even a brief shot of her breasts as she gets out.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Drazak.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: And when Barnsby finally does, she complains it wasn't hard enough. Maritza is The Mole and she needs a convincing bruise to cover up letting Mallory and Barnsby escape. Fortunately, Mallory Would Hit a Girl. In fact, Robert Shaw really did punch Barbara Bach in that scene, knocking her unconscious.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Stated almost literally by Major Petrovich as the reason for sending the team back to Allied-occupied Italy.
    Petrovich: You have outstayed your usefulness.